Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State students to see how frontier markets operate during two-week trip to Morocco

December 3, 2014

Scott College of Business students will learn about entrepreneurship and doing business in smaller, less accessible markets in developing countries during a trip Dec. 10-21 that will take them to several Moroccan cities. Ten Indiana State University students - five graduate students in Aruna Chandra's global business course and five undergraduates from Chandra's special topics course - plan to participate in the trip funded through a faculty-led student travel grant from the Center for Global Engagement. Students will have the opportunity to meet business owners and talk to other students about the environment and support infrastructure for business in several cities, including Casablanca, Marrakesh and Settat, where Indiana State's sister school, Hassan I University, is located. "The experience of it all is what interests me," said Brad Lone, a second-year Master of Business Administration student from Terre Haute.

Lone will graduate in December but plans to miss the ceremony in order to go on the Morocco trip.

"I'm just interested in seeing how business operates in a culture so different from mine," he said. "(Morocco) is a frontier market but it's growing dramatically with places like Casablanca becoming a gateway to the west, so I'm excited to see the blending of cultures and how that impacts business." The students will visit businesses and government organizations and hear from university professors about the environment for doing business in Morocco, focusing on the challenges entrepreneurs face doing business in a frontier market.

"Basically, a frontier market is one step behind an emerging market, so it will be interesting to learn about the challenges entrepreneurs face when they setup a new venture or try to do business in a place where there may be potential gaps in infrastructure or ecosystem in general," said Chandra. She will host a seminar in Morocco for students and faculty at Hassan I University regarding her research on microfinance and the environment for entrepreneurship in emerging markets. In the lead-up to the trip, Chandra, professor of management , posted content about the business environment in Morocco and the Moroccan economy so students could engage in discussion and reflection.

She will also ask her students to write a paper on the experience and create collages about what they learned on the trip, especially in regards to the challenges businesses face in an environment with institutional voids that American business owners take for granted. "Capitalism needs certain fundamental institutions to function well," Chandra said. "But there are often gaps in a frontier market, so we'll be looking at what businesses in Morocco have to do to overcome these voids and be successful."

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or